Plant-derived antibodies designed to target SARS- CoV-2 bind to SARS-CoV2 spike protein similar to bacteria derived antibodies based on ELISA.
The use of neutralizing antibodies is a strategy for treating viral infections, especially for individuals who are immunocompromised or have high-risk medical conditions. Mass production of these antibodies would be necessary to become a viable option to meet demands for viral treatment, but relies primarily on mammalian cell culture systems, which are very expensive and time-consuming.
Rutgers researchers have developed an alternative system for antibody production using genetically modified plants and plant cell suspensions. This system can rapidly generate safe and effective antibodies in less time and expense than traditional methods, such as bacterial or mammalian cell culture. As a proof-of-concept, the Rutgers researchers generated plant-derived antibodies that targeted and effectively bound to SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins, but the plant system can be easily modified to generate antibodies that are specific to other viruses.
- Production of single-domain antibodies for treatment of viral infections
- Lack of human and animal pathogens, which can prevent unwanted side effects
- Low-cost manufacturing
- New transgenic plants can be made in about two months
- Ease of production scale-up
- Single-domain antibodies are smaller than full-sized antibodies, can access more epitopes, and are highly stable
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